Remembering My Mother

Be Grateful You Have Someone Who Worries

Be grateful if you ever had Betty Goodfriend‘s thick shabbes cholent,
Or sipped her perfect matzo ball soup on Passover,
Or dug a fork into her fluffy blintz souffle on Shavuos,
Or tasted the sweet and tangy marmalade that she made from esrogim after Sukkos.

Be grateful you had someone who worried –
You shouldn’t go away from the table hungry.

Be grateful if you ever heard Betty Goodfriend tell a story of the shtetl,
Or if you sat next to her in synagogue (or in her vicinity) and heard her honest opinions,
Or sat in a classroom or a congregation and heard her talk about the ultimate evil of people
And the strength of her faith and commitment to Israel she thought
Every Jew should have – must have – in order for our people to survive.

Be grateful you had someone who worried –
You should have a Jewish education.

Be grateful if you ever had Betty Goodfriend visit you in the hospital,
Or hold your hand, or pour out the tsoris of her life to you;
Or if you had her listen to you as you poured out your pain to her
So she could offer the right advice – advice that while empathetic was not always sympathetic,
And just as often, the most difficult advice to take.

Of my mother’s many such wisdoms, which in my life I dismissed so many times,
The one I will never again let go of is this:

Be grateful you have someone who worries about you.


PS. I presented the above tribute at my mother’s funeral service last Wednesday, 30 July. My mother died the previous Monday from a brain hemorrhage. She was 81 years old. I am taking some extra time this month, so I don’t know when I will next post. Thank you for your continuing support.

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